Magazine article Montessori Life

War and Peace and Montessori

Magazine article Montessori Life

War and Peace and Montessori

Article excerpt

As the confetti (and perhaps the dust) settles after yet another contentious election season, thoughts of peace, real peace, are like diaphanous curtains, too easy to see through and too difficult to grasp.

Maria Montessori wrote much about peace and education in the last years of her life. Having survived two world wars and witnessed the beginnings of the Cold War, she clearly felt deeply about peace, its connection to education, and the promise of a better life for all children, should peace ever be achieved.

In Peace and Education, Montessori laments, "There exists no science of peace, no science with an outward development comparable at least with the development of the science of war in the manner of armaments and strategy" (1965, p. 3). If she were alive today she would be horrified justifiably, not only by the technological accomplishments but also by the seemingly general acceptance of the necessity of conflict put forth by otherwise intelligent and good people.

Montessori suggests that the "peace" we accept is of such a nature that of itself war will follow: "What we call peace is the forced adaptation of the vanquished to a state of submission which has become final. . . . Such a situation although it marks the end of fighting, cannot be given the name of peace ..." (1965, p. 5). Montessori suggests there is such a thing as "true peace": 'True peace, on the contrary, suggests the triumph of justice and love among men; it reveals the existence of a better world wherein harmony reigns" (1965, p. 7). Were there a science of peace, the path toward peace would be illuminated by research and by actions shown to be effective. She says we "live in a state of ethical chaos" (1965, p. 7). Unlike real scientists, we accept unchallenged, previously established premises of courses of war and methods of peace, e.g., peace-keeping soldiers, war games, weapons of peace, peace offensive, and war on poverty. These oxymora are accepted as rational, needing no further justification.

It all begins for Dr. Montessori with the primal struggle, "the ceaseless struggle which awaits man at birth and accompanies him throughout the course of his growth - and this is the conflict between the adult and the child, between the strong and the weak . . . between the blind and the seeing" (1965, p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.